I read mysteries. Gory, violent, and usually British. I love a good murder. One of the things every member of my family has in common is a love of mystery stories, that and food obviously. On my sister’s last visit from Prague she brought me a huge box of chick lit, a move I still haven’t figured out. Anyway, of the books in the box every cover has a pair of shoes and a cupcake and while I totally respect a persons right to read and relax with that sort of book I just can’t do it myself. It’s not that I don’t like sex, shoes and chocolate, I do…It's just that actual sex and shoe buying is more relaxing. When I’m asked to consider a book in that genre I usually decline because I know I’m not an unbiased reader and it doesn’t seem fair. The publishers of “Two Weeks Under” by Rivka Tadjer sent me a selection and a picture of the cover and lo, no cupcake and no shoes and a very familiar set up.
I don’t think I give anything away by showing this book to be a mystery. If it was an average feel good story about an overweight girl in the city there would be a cat and a best friend in on the secret. The secret, that only we the readers know, is that our would be heroine has made a very big decision to under go a serious procedure for vanity weight loss. A procedure that was essentially effective however unexpected the end result.
The procedure is a medically induced coma that reduces the patient’s weight. In my heart I feel like this should be a shocking revelation regarding the direction of healthcare in America but in my head I wonder if it’s not the next new thing. The only downside I see for the weight loss industry is that the thing actually works. Except for the pesky mysterious deaths the idea is awesome and with only the slightest suspension of reality.
On my first reading the thing that struck me about the characters was their weight, or lack there of. They’re not very overweight, just above normal on the BMI. They’re all skinnier than I am in their beleaguered pre-coma bodies. On my first reading it pissed me off how skinny they were and how they spent so much money to lose enough weight to hardly exist. That would be where Rivka grabs you and whoops your ass with the truth we all live. There’s no such thing as normal and there’s no rule about who’s allowed to be happy with their bodies and who’s not. The writer calls these comas "vanity comas" and bless her for being honest about all the things we do for our "health".
In the lives of the women in this book, women with good jobs and expensive apartments, weight is still an issue…still the issue. The money spent and risks taken by these women to achieve their metamorphosis is the same as every woman who buys diet pills or signs up for Jenny Craig but on a different scale. My first reaction to the women in this book is that they weren’t relatable but I was wrong, I don’t know a woman who wouldn’t use every advantage to have a body she felt good about.
Rivka Tadjer has written a book for every woman who wonders about her true potential and she did it in a way that didn’t need the amusing embarrassing moment or the binge fest over the handsome man from the foreign office. But maybe I’m just a sucker for a good mystery.